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Monday, April 12, 2021

This former Chennai teacher helps underprivileged children learn chess

R Raghavan is a self-taught chess master who acknowledges Viswanathan Anand as his motivation. He's been playing for more than seven years.

This former Chennai teacher is helping underprivileged children learn chess. Read below.

Meet, R Raghavan, a 32-year-old former teacher, graduated from engineering and also an international chess player. Raghavan was born in a family where his father was an MTC bus driver and a homemaker mother.

Former teacher helps underprivileged children learn chess

He is a self-taught chess master who acknowledges Viswanathan Anand as his motivation. He’s been playing for more than seven years.

“I have attended chess tournaments across the country and my job had helped me fund the expenses. It helped me get the international rating,” said Raghavan to NIE. Before losing his job two years ago, he was a professor at a well-known private institution.

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The loss of his job, on the other hand, allowed him to concentrate on what he genuinely enjoys: teaching children to play chess. Raghavan once came across an interview with Sakthivel, a six-year-old from Arakkonam who excelled at chess but couldn’t afford good coaching.

Raghavan approached the family and spent most weekends in Arakonam mentoring the boy. The boy set the UNICO World Record a year back. Raghavan, too, was embarking on a new adventure.

“I’ve now started to travel to Thiruvanmiyur and Korrukupet to teach children from orphanages and other disadvantaged backgrounds. While the travel from home itself takes about three hours, I teach them for over an hour,” added Raghavan.

200 underprivileged and counting 

He teaches over 200 children and lives in Avadi. He also mentions that many children have asked him to teach them every day, but he has been unable to do so.

Raghavan couldn’t travel after the lockdown, so he began doing teaching chess online. He teaches children with disabilities as well.

“Disabled children are very gifted when it comes to chess since their brain works marvellously. I start with teaching the basics, coordination and move on to gameplay,” he further said.

Raghavan set a UNICO World Record in November 2019 when he organized a tournament with 200 players who played 2,000 rounds of chess in 75 minutes.

Speaking on his chess ambitions, the chess ace says he wants to become a Grandmaster, just like his idol Viswanathan Anand. He is seeking sponsors to achieve the goal.

“With no financial aid to attend tournaments, many opportunities are slipping out of hand. If I can become a GM, I can take chess to more children free of cost,” says Raghavan.

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